Red-rumped swallow

Cecropis daurica

السنونو أحمر العجز

Status: Common

One of the commonest swallows in this area, second only to the barn swallow. The Red-rumped Swallow is in the Hirundinidae in the Passeriformes order. It is 16-19 cm in size and 15-29 grams in weight. The Red-rumped swallow has long wings, a deeply forked tail, a round, flat head on a short neck, and a short beak with wide a gape. It is distinguished from the barn swallow by the deep metallic purple color of the upperparts, the nape of the neck and the rump that are in a rusty-orange color and  by the throat and chest that are light-colored. Also by  the lack of the dark chest band that the barn swallow has. The striking similarity of the swallow to the swift is an example of evolutionary convergence or parallel development. The similar characteristics of the birds are adaptations which are advantageous to their lifestyle as insectivores. These characteristics developed in two genetically different families. The red-rumped swallow has a lovely flight with outstanding maneuvering abilities. It interchanges constantly between active flight, hovering, and gliding. The flight is heavier than that of the barn swallow. Unlike the barn swallow that drinks in flight, the red-rumped swallow drinks while standing on the bank of bodies of water. The preferred habitat of the swallow is mountainous or hillsides. The Red-rumped swallow arrives to the area in March and leaves in September. During this time the couple may raise two broods. The nest is built among the cliffs, in crevices and caves. The past 100 years there has been a gradual change in the nesting sites. Bridges, culverts, porches of houses and other constructions have become nesting sites that have enabled the dispersion of the population to other locations. The swallow builds a nest from mud in the shape of a closed bottle, a narrow entrance with a "hallway" leads to a round nesting chamber. The nest is attached to the ceiling of a construction or overhanging horizontal surface. The Red-rumped swallow is common throughout south Europe, around the Mediterranean Sea basin, and eastward to south-east Asia.  The swallow migrates through this area and spends the summer here. Autumn migration is from mid-July to mid-November, peaking in September. Spring migration starts in mid-February and lasts until June, peaking in March-April. At this time it can be found in flocks of tens to hundreds of birds. The breeding population will arrive in March-April and will disperse up to altitudes of 1700 meters.

International conservation status: Least Concern

Regional conservation status: LC

Migratory behaviour: Breeder 

Sites: Beitillu, Umm at-Tut, Wadi Al-Quff nature reserves